This blog post was written by Nicole Ouellette of Breaking Even Communications, a Jottful Community member. Breaking Even specializes in content writing and WordPress web development. Their team can help with a variety of your website, blog, and social media needs. Nicole splits her time between Maine and New York.

Most people I know who have done Facebook ads say they aren’t getting what they thought they’d get out of it. Here are a few tips on how not to waste money the next time you do a Facebook ad.

1. Set up Facebook Business Manager

It’s easy to just click ‘boost’ on a post, but by creating an account in Business Manager you can do so much more, including:

  • Generate remarketing pixels, so you can advertise to people who have been to your website
  • Create lookalike audiences (find people who behave like your targeted audience)
  • Import your website’s product catalog, so people can click right on your Instagram photos and buy what they see

2. Consider video

On Facebook, video ads tend to be the cheapest form of content to advertise. You can use websites like to make branded social media videos or do a square crop of a Facebook video cover. Test a video ad versus another ad type to the same audience and see for yourself!

3. Optimize your conversions

You could create the best ad in the world but if your website isn’t turning them into customers, it’s a waste. According to Shopify, most ecommerce sites convert at 1-2% so if your website is converting lower than that, concentrate your efforts on improving your website. Adding an interactive element like a video or chat widget can help, as can features such as social proof popups (“Jim bought this t-shirt yesterday”) and abandoned-cart emails.

4. Test one variable at a time

Think of each ad set as a test. Run the same video ad to three different audiences in the same time period. Or test three different images with the same audience during the same time period. Your goal is to use each ad spend to not only get customers, but to get data you can use in future campaigns. Over time, you will be able to optimize your ads for conversions, and spend less.

5. Get ready for the fourth quarter

Facebook ads are a bid-based service. And since everyone takes out ads around the holidays, prepare to spend more money for less-effective ads during the last month or two of the year.

I call it the Q4 WTF. At least then I can chuckle about it.

6. Retarget ads to website visitors

We’ve all browsed a website for, say, a pair of boots only to have those boots follow us everywhere online. You can serve Facebook ads to people who have viewed a page on your website or, if you set them up, taken specific actions such as filling out a form or making a purchase. Knowing this, you can deliver ‘come back and buy’ or ‘thank you’ ads to the proper audiences. Also, these ads typically are less expensive than more traditional ads since you are reaching people who already know your brand.

No matter what you do, if you consider your Facebook ad spend a way to get better customer data over time, while also landing some purchases and complimenting your organic social media efforts, you’ll be investing money — and not wasting it — this year.